Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sewing Machine Found!

Well, I got my new sewing machine last week. It is actually a used sewing machine, but it is new to me. I look at sewing machines the way I look at cars, why pay full price when you can get something a couple years old, in great shape and for a fraction of the cost. I've been using a 40+ year old "Maxwell" that was my grandmothers, a 15+ year old Brother Galaxie, and a ? year old Babylock Companion (portable) sewing machine that I got in a church rummage sale this summer, so a 5 year old Husqvarna Viking Quilt Designer is new to me!

Here it is in all its glory!

I love it so much, that my house went to hell last week - kids complaining that we have no food in the house, no clean clothes, dishes piling up, no bloggin, etc... because all I want to do is play with my new toy! I did go grocery shopping yesterday, and cleaned the bathrooms over the weekend, but I have a lot of catching up to do this week!

But since last Wednesday , I did get lots of sewing done...

I did some of the quilting on the quilt I am making my mom...

Made this awesome fabric basket like the one that I saw on AmandaJean's website last week to give that I filled with Bath and Body Works products and gave as a birthday gift to a friend this past weekend...

Finsihed piecing this quilt top...

And made myself a tote bag out of some of the extra squares/fabric from the quilt top...

It was a busy week!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Date Day with My Hubby

Last Tuesday, Dave took a day off work, and he and I went up to the lake to get the jet ski out for the season. It was a beautiful day. Low 80's, sun shining, slight breeze... just perfect.

We went to lunch at this restaurant...

The bathroom walls were covered with actual flip flops screwed to the wall. It was so cute. I don't think I have ever taken pitures of a public restroom before... first time for everything!

After lunch, we put the jet ski in at a neighboring lake and took a cruise around. This is of the biggest lake in our area, and we have often talked of "trailering" the jet ski to it for the day, but never did it. The weather was so nice, we already had it on the trailer, and we had 2 hours before we had to start heading back home, so we figured "what the heck"!

These are some of the single family homes we saw that just blew us away!

Here are some other interesting sites...

Someone's personal "sea" plane, a church on prime lakefront property, a blue heron basking on someones float, and the bottom 3 pictures are of the old abandoned Bledsoe's Beach. It used to be a resort type complex. The large building was like a dance/reception hall. I love that they used to have parking meters for your boat!

It was an awesome day!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sewing Machine Shopping

I've spent the last few days researching and shopping for a new sewing machine. My faithful 15+ year old Brother electronic sewing machine is not working properly, and I have a feeling that it will cost a couple hundred dollars to fix/tune-up, so I am considering buying a new one as opposed to having it fixed.

I have not really looked at the price of sewing machines in several years, and was blown away with sticker shock at the prices.

I want a nice machine - that will hopefully last me another 15 years or so, but don't want to remortgage the house for it!

If you have suggestions on a good machine for quilting, sewing, crafting, in a moderate price range ($400 - $600) it would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vintage Thingie Thursday

My second Vintage Thingies Thursday entry…

I love the old blue/green Ball jars. I love the color, the shape, and the versatility. You can pick them up cheap at garage sales and thrift stores (I have gotten most of them for under $1 each).

I use them to store stuff...

I use them to decorate both at home...

and at our lake cottage…

I even like to use them outside as tea light holders...

You can check out more great vintage items by going clicking on the picture below.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On the Road Again

In addition to being a stay at home mom, and avid crafter, I also have a part-time job as an Industrial Hygienist. “What the heck is an Industrial Hygienist?” you ask. Well it is a fancy way to say employee health and safety specialist. I work as an IH consultant for one of my best friends from college who started her own consulting firm about 15 years ago. My part-time is different from what most consider a part-time job. When I work, I typically have to travel, and may be gone for 1, 2, maybe even 5 days at a time. But then, I may not work again for another month or two. I spent the first part of this week working in Pittsburgh, PA. I’ve been doing training for employees at a chemical factory.

I am actually writing from Panara Bread in Mansfield, OH on my way home - a girl's got to eat!

I know, it seems contradictory that I would be working at a chemical factory in steel toed work boots, a hard hat and safety glasses when what I really love is crafting, sewing, quilting, etc… But it pays the bills, supports my sewing habit, allows my kids to go to Catholic School, etc… And as much as I love being a stay at home mom it is nice to get away every once in a while even if it is work. It’s good to be with adults, keep my mind active, stay in a nice hotel at night with no one to wake me up, eat at a restaurant and not be in a rush or have someone wanting to eat off my plate, see new areas, shop in the evening unrushed, etc... Also, being away for a couple days really makes my family appreciate all that I do for them. Two to three nights away is the perfect amount of time for me. It is long enough that I come home feeling refreshed by the change of pace and ready to get back to my family, kids, home, and all the things I love.

I’m excited to get home and start on the scrap challenge that I signed up for on JC Handmade’s blog site. This will be my first on-line challenge I’ve participated in. I’m trying to think of what fabric to send in – I have so many that I love, and so many “scraps” that the decision will not be easy!

Well, I'd better get back on the road and finish the last half of my 6 hour car trip! Yuck!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday. It is not a monumental one, other than the fact that I am now closer t0 50 than to 40. Which, I guess if you spend too much time thinking about, can be depressing. But as I always say, it is better than the alternative...

My family gifted me at breakfast this morning, before the kids left for school. We have other commitments tonight, so we will not be able to celebrate at dinner time as we usually do. My kids are worse than me when it comes to presents. Rather than wait to celebrate later, they wanted me to open them this morning. They actually would have let me open them last night when they got back from the store, but I refused!

So I got 2 beautiful gift bags from Brighton (which I love). The first one had this candle inside...

It smells so good!

The other had this adorable tin...

And in the tin was this beautiful watch!

(please ignore the wrinkly wrist that the watch is on - I was too lazy to take it off to take the picture)

Thank you Dave, M, C & P!

I also share my birthday with one of my favorite persons in the whole wide world. My cousin-in-law and good friend - Lori at Fresh Picked Whimsy. We are kindred spirits, so it is fitting that we share the same special day (although I had "dibs" on the day WAY before she did!). She lives about 2 hours away, but for the past couple of years, we have gotten together somewhere in between to scour antique stores, thrift stores, maybe an occasional garage sale, together to celebrate our special day. We don't do it on our actual birthday, but usually just sometime in the month of September. It is always a lot of fun! She is the one who got me started in blogging, so if you get a chance, pop over to her blog and wish her a happy birthday today!

Our church silent auction that I made this picnic quilt set for is tonight. Keep your fingers crossed that it goes for a lot of $. There is nothing worse than making something and donating it, and not having anyone bid on it or just getting the "pity bids"!

Have a great weekend - I know I will!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bitten by the "Vintage Linens" Bug

After making the picnic quilt that I blogged about here and here, I started scouring my local thrift stores in search of more vintage linens to use in upcoming projects.

I got this haul yesterday!
This is actually only about half of them, the other half was in the wash already, they couldn't all fit in one load!

Here they are all washed, dried and folded...

I plan to make something out of just all these roses.

I plan to start cutting them up today. I am going to cut some fat quarters of each of them and list them on my Etsy site at a very reasonable cost. So if you too have the bug, but don't have the time or inclination to scour your local thrift stores, let me do it for you!

Being an Irish girl, I love this pillowcase with the clovers on it...

My favorite find however are these 2 vintage chenille bedspreads.

I love chenille, I always have and especially the older stuff. Whenever I see chenille at a garage sale or thrift store, I just have to have it. One of the thrift stores I went to yesterday has 1/2 price housewares and linens on Wednesday, so I got these for half price! Two vintage chenille bedspreads for only $5.50! I think these will look great paired up with some of the vintage sheets I just got!

I just found the Vintage Thingies Thursday posting group! I happened to place this post today about my vintage linens, so I added it to the list. If you got here via that link, thanks for stopping, and I hope you stop by again!

If you are a regular visitor here, make sure you stop by Confessions of an Apron Queen and check out the other great vintage posts!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Say "cheese"!

Today is picture day at my 7 year old's school! He was very proud of his decision to wear a tie in honor of the occasion.

But, there were a few other thing to consider...

The school is not air conditioned, so he had to wear shorts to keep cool.

It is gym day and there is always recess to keep in mind, so he had to wear tennis shoes and pack a spare t-shirt.

So when you see the whole package, it is a very cute, very second grade boy, outfit!

He is just the cutest thing ever!

Why do they have to grow up?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Banana Bread Everywhere!

My mom always makes the best banana bread. One of her tricks is that when bananas start to turn brown, she pops them in the freezer and saves them for making banana bread. I have followed in her footsteps and throw my overripe bananas in the freezer, and when I have a whole slew of them, I take a morning (or in this case maybe an entire day), and make batch after batch of banana bread! Yum!

Well, being a crazy busy summer, the bananas have accumulated to a point where they were literally clogging up my freezer! So I am in the middle of making 5 double batches of banana bread! Some even have chocolate chips in them!

I am the messiest cook ever, and I hate doing dishes...

So it makes sense that if I am going to make this big mess, I may as well make the most of it, make a ton of bread using all the same utensils and then only have to clean up once!

Each double batch makes 3 standard size loafs or 3 small and one standard size. Needless to say some friends and neighbors will be the lucky recipients of my freezer "De-clutter" day!'

What I love about my mom's banana bread recipe is that the bread is "dense". I know that sounds weird, but I have never tasted banana bread like hers anywhere, and anytime I have other banana bread, it just makes me appreciate my mom's even more.

If you would like to try her recipe, here it is. If you do, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think of it.

Mom's Best Banana Bread EVER!

Preheat oven to 350 - grease/spray loaf pan.

Beat 1/4 C soft butter or marg., 1 C sugar & 1 egg until smooth.

Add 1 C mashed ripe banana (you can always use more - I usually use about a cup and a half because I have so many bananas to use!), and 1/2 C milk. Mix well.

Mix 2 1/2 C Flour, 3 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Beat together until well combined - batter will be thick. If adding chocolate chips, I add a half bag here.

Pour into pan and smooth top with spatula.

Bake 1 hour, let cool on wire rack 10 min, turn out and let cool completely. Wrap in foil - refrigerate or freeze. ENJOY!

The Tree House Saga

Last summer, Dave started building a tree house for the kids up at the lake. He called the county "building department" to see if he needed a permit for it, and after several phone calls was told "no permit necessary". So he ordered lumber, and began building.

Well, about 3 weeks later, we got a certified letter in the mail from the county "planning department", that we needed a site permit, and were to cease and desist and tear down what he had already built.

Not being the kind of guy who gives up easily - kind of like a dog with a bone - he contested the order, talked with various county officials, contacted our attorney, talked to the Department of Natural Resources, etc... What it boiled down to was that the "structure" was only 17 feet from the lake shore - and 20 feet is required for a site permit. Now mind you, they measures when the lake was at its highest level in years, but that didn't seem to matter.

We were told to move the tree house to another tree - well, that really wasn't an option - the tree house was being supported by 3 trees - the only ones on our property we could use. So if you can't move the structure, what do you do?
You move the lake shore!

We applied for and were granted a permit from the DNR to install a rock sea wall - which we installed this summer with the help of a slinger truck, a belt truck, and several extra hands - and low and behold the lake shore is now 20 feet from the closest tree/structure!

Upon our return from Panama, we were informed that we could officially continue work on the tree house. And work we did. I think that Dave spend most of his time at the lake this summer working on the tree house. And I think that I am now on a first name basis with every boy working in the "board barn" at the local Menard's.

My "manly man" doing some "manly" work!
With help from a variety of friends and family, the tree house is officially complete. Well, we still have some finishing/detail projects to finish, but it is completely under roof, sided, painted, railing done, dutch door installed, etc.

So what do you think?